Broadcom has announced a new 5G Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) system-on-a-chip (SoC) that's designed for smartphones, significantly adding 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 2×2 MIMO into the mix.

This is the first time a smartphone chip has utilized 2×2 MIMO, and the result brings twice the wireless performance and 25 percent more power efficiency than current generation 1×1 MIMO chips, according to MacRumors. In combination with the 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol, the use of two spacial streams means theoretical speeds of up to 867Mbps are possible with Broadcom's new product.

The publication explains: “MIMO is a technology that uses multiple antennas for both the transmitter and the receiver to improve communication performance.” Though Apple first deployed this technology with the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display (using 1×1 MIMO), neither support the faster 802.11ac protocol, which offers speeds up to three times faster than 802.11n networks.

Broadcom notes how this, combined with its Transmit Beamforming technology, could make photo and video uploads from “congested environments” happen twice as fast:

In addition, Broadcom's Transmit Beamforming (TxBF) technology further improves rate over range performance in congested environments for data-intense applications. Photo and video uploads to social networking sites, for example, will be twice as fast in crowded sporting events or concert venues.

Apple's iPhone 5s uses a Broadcom chip, and so we're expecting Cupertino to call on Broadcom for its next-generation iPhone handset, too. Could this be the first iPhone to support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, as rumored? We hope so, especially since the protocol is already supported by Apple's newer lines of Mac computers.

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